Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When Do You Get Discouraged?

I get rejection letters -- on occasion. It takes forever for short stories to get read and I haven't sent out my novel in months. You can send out many queries on the same project at the same time for novels, but short stories progress only one magazine at a time so I get fewer now than I did when I thought my novel was good enough. (There are obvious and specific problems that were pointed out to me that I have yet to fix, thank you to the agent who took the time to read it).

But my point was that rejections don't discourage me. At least not much. I have a little sadness, but I'm lucky enough to have a husband that believes in me and helps me get past it to try again.

When I read good books, I am not discouraged. I get excited. Overjoyed. Thrilled in the words and the action and happy with the idea that I might someday make people feel something too. That I might pull them into my imagination and make them happy, excited, frightened, sad and make their day a little better or at least more interesting.

Bad books make me sad. I wonder what people saw in them that pushed it through the publication process. I wonder about the waste of money, the loss of trees, and occasionally why so many people don't see the problems with the story that I do. But with the idea that there are many kinds of people in the world, I am really alright with these books too. They're simply not for me, so I move on to the next.

When do I get discouraged then?

Oddly, when I read mediocre books. When I read books that I don't love and I don't hate. That I can read all the way through, that have no problem I can put my finger on, but don't really make me feel or care. I don't know what to do with these books so I get sad. And I get discouraged. And I wonder if I can really write, if this is the career/dream for me.

I'm not sure why.

Because I'm afraid that this is what I'll write?

I don't know.

What discourages you? Is it rejections? Is it what you read? And if you know why the books in the middle are the ones that bother me so much, I'd love to hear that too.


  1. Rejections do discourage me, but they're novel rejections, so they're heaped on several at a time like you said, and I start to wonder what's wrong with my book, if I'll ever be published, blah blah blah, brain weasels. I think it's mediocrity that makes you sad. Hate and love both inspire emotions, passion or sadness. But being mediocre is just...meh. Who wants to be meh?

  2. I got the five-minute-sad when I got those. Maybe because before I got my first one, I'd started looking around at agent-blogs and caught a number of the matching-game explanations.

    The idea that they have to love your book as much, as I love my absolute favorite of authors (and not just the ones I pick up when I notice they have something new out, the ones I activily watch for new books), enough to talk it up and sell it to someone else. It made sense to me. Especially since, when I started reading UF, J.R. Ward came VERY highly recommended and I couldn't even make it through one of her books. I swear I threw it at the wall three times before I gave up completely, picking it up each time thinking 10,000 (on Goodreads alone) enthusiastic fans can't be wrong. But I'm just not one of her fans. (I don't feel bad mentioning her because she has so many fans, my words shouldn't bother her at all).

    For the novel rejections, I can feel sad for a little while, but I can usually turn it around pretty quickly to thinking that it wasn't the right person.

    Now when I got the feedback rejections, they stung a little more -- but they also gave something to work with. For me it hasn't worked out too well because I put that idea on the shelf for fixing later, but at least now I know what's wrong with it -- you know besides being about zombies which are hitting fad stage right about now, so I think probably won't be sellable for another few years anyway.

    I have faith in you. I haven't experienced your story writing, but I enjoy your blog. Remember, it may be only a blog, but yours is interesting/well-written enough I've stuck around even through several phases of culling down my rss feeds in attempt to give myself more time for writing. (That really is a compliment. I have gotten rid of almost everyone I could stand losing. Almost because I know I could live without Cakewrecks, but I do so enjoy seeing them. :)

  3. Aw, thanks, Marilou. I had a rough start with it. Probably because all I did was whine in the beginning.... Feedback would be nice, even if it's negative. It'd give something for me to focus on. I've gotten some very complimentary rejections, which sound good in theory, but are very confusing. "I think it's smart and well written, and also, I'm not going to rep it!" Bah!

  4. My issue was that too many things happened TO my MC without her doing anything on her own.

    I'd been trying for that where she does stumble and only takes control at the end, but I think I'm going to move it up or make it more obviously a point. Because, you know, my point doesn't matter if people get sick of her stumbling about and put the book down before she really does something on her own.

    Unfortunately that's not a common enough problem that it would help you at all. I don't know if they do it for everyone, but I got my best feedback at Carina Press.

    (I'd been following Angela James Nice Mommy, Evil Editor blog quite some time before she started working for Harlequin so she may have recognized my name from me commenting there and added a little extra help from that, but she was always nice.)